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Norway, Ireland, Spain to Recognize Palestinian State; Israel Fights Efforts to Handcuff Jewish State

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JERUSALEM, Israel – From the International Criminal Court at The Hague to the frontlines at Rafah, Israel is fighting battles on multiple fronts as nations take sides on the ICC's decision to push for the arrest of Israeli leaders and three countries decide to recognize a Palestinian state.  

Norway, Ireland, and Spain all announced Wednesday that they would give recognition to a Palestinian state, even as Israel is fighting to destroy the fighting capability of Hamas in Gaza.

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris stated, "Each of us will now undertake whatever national steps are necessary to give effect to that decision. In the lead-up to today's announcement, I've spoken with a number of other leaders and counterparts, and I'm confident that further countries will join us in taking this important step in the coming weeks.” 

The announcement comes after this week's decision by the ICC to consider arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.   

Norway's government declared Tuesday that if warrants are issued, they would enforce them.

On Capitol Hill, U.S. senators say they'll take action against the ICC, while Netanyahu warned other democracies will be affected. He told ABC News the ICC prosecutor is pouring gasoline on the global fires of antisemitism.

“Because he is attacking the one and only Jewish state and trying to handcuff us, preventing us from, exercising responsibly through the laws of war as we obey them, and we are subordinate to them. He's saying we're not. He's creating false symmetry, false facts, and he's doing a grave injustice to the international court," Netanyahu said.

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Concerning battlefield issues, the White House expressed satisfaction with Israel's scaled-down military plan for the invasion of Rafah. 

Reportedly, the Israel Defense Forces already control about 30 percent of Hamas' last major stronghold and more than half of the strategic Philadelphi Corridor. This area contains smuggling tunnels used by Hamas to resupply its ammunition and weapons.

One Israeli analyst reported the IDF may be close to taking over the city.

Further north, the U.S.-built pier is facilitating aid for Gaza, but reports indicate most of the aid is being stolen soon after it leaves the pier. 

On the diplomatic front, the Biden administration is pressing Israel to accept a deal to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia in exchange for some form of Palestinian involvement in Gaza after the war. 

The question for Israel is: what would be the cost of normalization with Saudi Arabia? Some report it would include stopping the war in Gaza in exchange for the release of the Hamas-held hostages and a statement by the Israeli government that it would create a political horizon for a two-state solution.

Netanyahu has repeatedly stated the Palestinians will not control Gaza after the war.

In Tehran Wednesday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei officiated at the funeral of Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi.

Iranian-born American Ellie Cohanim told CBN News many Iranians rejoiced at the death of the man known as "The Butcher of Iran."  

“You see the president of Iran, who just died, was personally responsible for overseeing these kangaroo court systems, which at most gave people these fake trials, five-minute show trials. And he was responsible for one of the greatest mass executions of political prisoners in human history," Cohanim insisted.

She said Raisi was considered one of two possible successors to Khamenei as the country's top leader. Khamenei's son is now the likely successor.

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